DEARBORN — In response to the catastrophic flooding from this weekend, the Arab American and Chaldean Council (ACC) is partnering with other local entities to help flood victims.
ACC, a non-profit organization founded in 1979 on the basis of providing services to the Middle Eastern and mainstream communities in Southeast Michigan, is partnering with the Dearborn Police Department, Byblos Banquet facility and Forgotten Harvest to help feed the community.
Based on what I have seen, I’d say there are tens of thousands of people in need in Dearborn — Odie Fakhouri, COO of ACC
On Thursday, July 1, ACC and Forgotten Harvest moved their food distribution operation to Dearborn for a drive-thru food distribution at ACC’s Dearborn clinic at 13840 W. Warren Ave.
In addition to moving its food distribution operation to better accommodate the residents of Dearborn, ACC offered a limited number of hotel rooms for those who may have been displaced as well.
Odie Fakhouri, chief operating officer of the ACC, said that what has happened to Dearborn is heartbreaking.
“Based on what I have seen, I’d say there are tens of thousands of people in need in Dearborn,” he said. “People we’ve spoken to don’t want to stay in the hotel rooms we offered, they just want to stay in their homes and fix the damage that was done.”
Joe Bazzi, owner of Byblos Banquet Center and an ACC board member, arranged for the Dearborn Police Department to escort ACC volunteers and employees as they deliver hot, Halal meals to seniors at senior citizen complexes throughout Dearborn.
On Friday, July 2 1,000 meals will be distributed and on Friday, July 9, another 1,000 will be delivered, all prepared and arranged by Bazzi.
Dr. Haifa Fakhouri, ACC’s president and CEO, said that they are grateful for Bazzi and the police.
“We are grateful for the generosity of Joe Bazzi of Byblos Banquet Center and Chief Haddad of the Dearborn Police Department in coordinating this wonderful meal donation,” Dr. Haifa Fakhouri, who also founded the ACC, said. “We know many seniors do not wish to leave their homes and we are glad to provide a nutritious, Halal meal to those in need during these difficult times.”
Dr. Fakhouri also donated $5,000 to the Dearborn Police Department’s food distribution operation that is facilitated by Chief Ronald Haddad.
“We are so thankful for the support from Forgotten Harvest, Chief Haddad and the Dearborn Police Department as we service the community through this devastating time,” she said. “This collaboration will help put food on the table as families determine next steps and work to rebuild after the floods.”
As many residents have requested flashlights, the ACC will also be providing them to residents without power and residents who have requested them.
“ACC’s initial response is making sure people have food to eat,” Odie Fakhouri said. “Going forward, as we are learning the evolving needs, we will be meeting and assessing what is needed to help the community, which may very well include volunteers and going door to door.”
While the ACC was founded with the intention of helping Arab Americans, Odie Fakhouri said that they want to serve everyone.
“ACC started as an organization to serve Arab Americans, but we are going to help all people, everyone in Dearborn,” he said. “We want everyone to feel welcome. Dr. Haifa Fakhouri wrote the blueprint of basic human services in the state of Michigan and she knows this community better than everyone. Our services will not stop at food and shelter. If residents need help with any other flood-related concerns like mental health, youth programs, anything like that, they can contact us and we will do what we can to support them.”
Anyone in need of emergency services or who wishes to volunteer can call ACC at 248-559-1990.